I'm not sure because I'm getting older or because I participate in honoring newly deceased that belonged to an organization that I'm in, but I read the obituaries regularly. My parents who live out in the boonies and don't get a "local" paper unless they drive the 30 miles to town, often miss deaths of friends, neighbors and even distant relatives if I don't happen to catch them and send them to my mom in phone text form. One this morning caught my eye that came from my biological father's side of the family.
Like many American's these days, I'm a product of a divorced family. My father left when I was six years old and never really came back. I remember seeing him once and I think my mom has said I saw him several times before he wasn't interested in any more visits. I know now that he was simply too young to be a father at the time and really don't blame him for leaving. I'm actually always been kind of happy he left because my mom remarried when I was eight to the man whom I have considered my father ever since and my life has been better than I probably deserve ever since.
Anyway, I spent my childhood growing up on a farm surrounded by other families who were always kind to me. It was only after I developed my fascination with genealogy in my adulthood that I realized that all those families were related to me in one way or another. Our closest neighbor, whom I read in the obituary this morning, was married to a daughter of one of my great grandfather's brothers. According to Ancestry, that makes him the husband of my first cousin twice removed. I had forgotten how exactly he was related to me and before logging in to find out, I had thought he had married my grandfather's sister which would make him more closely related but that turned out not to be the case.
Although my family always get along well with this man's children and used to get along with the man himself, he hadn't spoken to us in over three decades despite being only a half mile away and the only neighbor visible from our house. Back in the 80's, his son had gone into "organic" farming which turned out to be marijuana. All summer long, planes kept flying south and low over our farm for reasons we didn't know and only when "harvest" began did we find out. I've told the story before of working on our pumpkin business outside while over 50 "plain" cop cars circled our block trying to apprehend our neighbor's son who had escaped via tractor and was driving through our fields. He was considered armed and dangerous and not one of them stopped and suggested we should go inside. He ended up holding up another neighbor (a distant cousin to him and a more closely related cousin to me at gunpoint and then turned himself into the law.
Although everyone involved knows he turned himself in and he even told his father (our recently deceased neighbor) that he turned himself in, his father always blamed my parents for his capture. We still would talk with his wife up until she died 15 years ago but he would never talk with us. He ended up living to the ripe old age of 95 and I'm guessing carried the bitterness towards my family with him to his grave. My parents will attend his funeral though to support two of his children in their time of grief. The son that did prison time for the above mentioned marijuana bust (at one point was the largest recorded bust in Iowa) is probably unsurprisingly back in prison with several years left of his sentence for having almost a ton of marijuana stored in his garage that he was trying to sell. Although that happened a county away, 20 years after the original bust and after 20 years of silent treatment by our neighbor, I'm sure my family probably got blamed for that one too.